It’s hard to look at pictures of Merlin at the time of his rescue. The dog was so sick, he was dubbed the “Saddest Dog In The World.” But Merlin’s not sad anymore. After finding his forever home, this once sad, sick dog is now a happy, frolicking pup.

Merlin lived as a stray for a long time. People would see him wandering the countryside, but he would then disappear for weeks or months at a time.

Merlin suffered from Leishmaniasis

Source: Viktor Larkhill

As Linda Edwards from Let’s Adopt International told PupJournal,

Merlin was “too terrified of humans to even beg for food, eating waste when he found it.”

Related: Sweet Vet Tech Comforts Terrified Puppy After Surgery

That’s no surprise, since Viktor Larkhill from Let’s Adopt International noted in “MERLIN: A destiny worse than death,” that people would even throw stones at Merlin or avoid him.

Merlin was ill, his hair fell out and he had infections

Source: Viktor Larkhill

Eventually, though, Linda explained, “He was so starving that he entered a crate that had been set up to capture him. In he went, and down came the door.”

That was Merlin’s luckiest day ever. Merlin was really sick, and had to be hospitalized and eventually went into intensive care.

He suffered from Leishmaniasis, which is caused by a mosquito bite. Merlin also had Mange and Erlichia, he couldn’t stand, his hair had fallen off, he had parasites, and his skin and eye got infected. He even started having problems with his eyesight.

Merlin has recovered

Source: Viktor Larkhill

On top of all of this, Merlin got depressed. Because of his hospitalization, Merlin, who was “terrified of people,” had to be around all these strangers. And the situation was just too much for him.

“Unlike other dogs that have fear aggression, Merlin reacted to being with humans by becoming deeply depressed,” Linda said.

But then something changed. Merlin started getting better. His hair grew back, he could stand, and his illnesses went away. And with his physical recovery, his spirits lifted.

Related: Nearly Hairless Dog Abandoned In Field Is So Glad To Be Rescued, She Can’t Stop Smiling

“… as his physical health improved, and he began to emerge as the beautiful dog he is, he gradually started to accept the people who were caring for him. Still unsure, but much improved,” Linda said.